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Cheesy Zucchini Pinwheels ~ (Gluten Free)

This is the time of year when those long light-filled days extend into those fun summer nights. From outdoor bar-b-ques to concerts in the park, parties, dinners, picnics and outdoor movie nights galore, the revolving door of side dishes to offer at any given gathering can become a bit redundant. So in honor of my favorite time of year in LA, when it’s a parade of excuses to gather under the setting sun, I offer you some favorite quick and easy recipes to spice up your next potluck.

Earlier this week, we celebrated the kick-off of summer activities featuring our Los Angeles Summer Outdoor Movie Guide and some recipes that would be fun to jazz up your next picnic spread. (Click HERE to see the article.)

To continue this celebration of Food & Film, I want to offer you my Cheesy Zucchini Pinwheels–sure to impress your foodie friends at your next sunset picnic movie night.   These beautiful bite-sized rosettes are a simple and delicious taste of Italy that are not only healthy, gluten-free and grain-free, but can also be made with a vegan option. Small delights to truly satiate that Italian food craving with each gooey, cheesy bite!

Cheesy Zucchini Pinwheels


  • 5 – Organic Zucchini (medium-sized)
  • 1 – small carton of Organic Cherry Tomatoes
  • 3 – cloves of Garlic
  • Fresh Organic Basil
  • 8 oz. low-moisture Mozzarella
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • Olive Oil
  • Grated Parmesan (to taste)
  • Salt, Pepper & Crushed Red Pepper (to taste)
  • Toothpicks (depending upon zucchini-size/ how many slices to roll)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop the tops off the zucchini. Use a mandolin or a sharp knife to slice the zucchini length-wise into thin slices (1/8-1/4 inch thick). Sprinkle with salt. Set the zucchini aside. The salt will cause the zucchini to “sweat” moisture as it rests.

Meanwhile, dice the tomatoes in half. Mince the garlic cloves. Heat an iron skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and the diced tomatoes. Stir occasionally and let the tomatoes cook down. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp. dried oregano to taste. Once the tomatoes cook down into a sauce (5 minutes), set aside.

Dab the excess moisture from the zucchini slices with a paper towel. Heat an iron skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Sear the zucchini slices a few minutes on each side, until the zucchini is malleable like a cooked noodle.  Set aside. Dab any excess liquid from the zucchini with a paper towel.

Cut the mozzarella into small cubes to fit the width of the zucchini slice. Spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce down the length of the zucchini slice. Tear a piece of basil leaf to fit. At one end of the zucchini place the basil. Inside the leaf place a cube of mozzarella.  Roll the zucchini from the cheese end into a pinwheel and spear with a toothpick to hold into place. In a glass baking dish place the zucchini rollups side by side.

Bake in the oven, 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted.  Generously dust the top of the pinwheels with grated parmesan and crushed red pepper to taste.

Serve while hot at a dinner gathering or serve room temp at a movie night picnic. It’s a delicious appetizer at any time.

For meat-eaters try adding prosciutto! Tear pieces of prosciutto to fit and layer with the sauce, basil and cheese before rolling up the pinwheel.

For our vegan friends substitute a non-dairy cheese alternative!

BON APPÉTIT! ~ Sirens & Scoundrels

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Words & Recipe by Sarah Prikryl // Photography by Sarah Prikryl

© 2016 Sirens and Scoundrels

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